What First Time Texas Drivers Need To Know

Written by Staff Writer

A milestone in any American's life, getting a permit and driver's license is an exciting if daunting endeavor. With 2,000-3,000 teenage drivers dying in a car accident per year, car crashes are the number one killer for teenagers. Therefore each state requires different steps to create safe and well-prepared drivers.

These steps can seem daunting and intimidating to students (or parents!) like you seeking a learner's permit or provisional license. That's where we come in to help. Let's break down how to get a Texas Driver's License.

ll students hoping to get a Texas driver's license should read the Texas Driver Handbook.

Students between 14 and 18

Getting your Texas learner's permit

In order to obtain your Texas permit, also known as a learner's license, you have the following options:

  • Take an approved driver's training school (a traditional classroom course)
  • Take a public school driver education course (offered, obviously, through a public school)
  • Take a parent-taught driver education course (PTDE)

No matter the method you choose, the following qualifications must be met:

  • To start driver's ed, you must be at least 14 years old (though you cannot get a Texas permit until you are 15)
  • The course must be a minimum of 32 hours, though some traditional courses may take longer
  • You cannot complete the course in less than 16 days
  • Course must be approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration (TDLR)

After you complete this course, you have to take a permit test. Some Texas driver education courses will offer the permit test as part of the course, as our 100% online Parent-Taught Driver Education course does. In fact, our course allows you to take your permit exam after completing the first module. Other courses will require you to complete the entire 32 course before letting you take the permit exam.

If your course does not provide a permit exam, your next step is to take and pass the exam at a local Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

If your course provides the permit exam or you passed the permit exam at a local Texas DPS, then you must bring the following items to your local DPS:

  • A certificate stating you passed the knowledge exam
  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Proof of US Citizenship
  • Proof of Texas Residency
  • A Verification of Enrollment and Attendance

For more information on these items, go here.

Now you can begin your behind-the-wheel training!

Impact Texas Teen Driver Course (ITTD)

As of September 1st, 2015 all aspiring Texas drivers must complete the Impact Texas Teen Driver (ITTD) course. You cannot receive a Texas provisional license without completing the ITTD program.

After completing the course, you will receive a completion certificate that is only valid for 90 days. You must apply for your license before it expires. For that reason, we recommend you take ITTD course after you've completed your 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training.

Take the free, two-hour longer program here.

Getting a Texas provisional license

You're almost there! You can take your Texas Provisional License exam once:

  • You've held your learner's permit for 6 months
  • You are at least 16 years old
  • You have completed your 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training, 10 of which must be driven at night

Exams can be taken at your local Texas DPS. In order to take the driving exam, your parent or legal guardian must accompany you. You will also be required to present the following documentation:

  • Certificate of completion for a Texas Driving school
  • Certificate of completion for the Impact Texas Teen Driver program
  • Completed PTDE packet forms (if applicable)
  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Social Security Number
  • Proof of US Citizenship
  • Proof of Texas Residency
  • A Verification of Enrollment and Attendance
  • Proof of Texas vehicle registration
  • Proof of financial responsibility, if student owns a car, or a statement that he or she does not own a car

More information about these items can be found here.

Once you've past the test, congrats! You've got your Texas Provisional License.

Traditionally, teenagers receive their license upon turning 16, but recent studies have shown the benefits of a Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. Henceforth, Texas residents cannot earn an official driver's license until turning 18. Until then you will have a provisional license with the following restrictions on it:

  • No driving between midnight and 5:00am
  • You cannot have more than one passenger over 21 years old who is not a family member
  • Unless it's an emergency, you are not allowed to use any form of wireless communication while driving, hands-free or otherwise

After you turn 18, these restrictions will be lifted and you'll be come a fully licensed Texas driver.

Students 18 to 25 years old

If you are an 18 to 25 year-old Texas resident who has never before held a Texas or any other driver's license before, then you can take a driver's course designed for adults. This course is six hours long and is designed specifically for adults. You can take an online Texas Adult Driver Education course or a traditional classroom course.

After completing the course, you must visit your local Texas DPS. There, you will be exempted from the knowledge test if you present your certificate for the adult driver education course. However, you are still required to pass a driving test.

To acquire your Texas driving license, you must provide the following documentation:

  • One primary document or two secondary documents or one secondary document with two supporting documents
  • Proof of Social Security Number
  • Proof of lawful presence in the US
  • Two documents proving your Texas residency

More information on this documentation can be found here.

Drivers over 25 years old

You are not required to take any class but are highly encouraged to do so to help keep the roads safe. Remember, Texas has the highest number of traffic fatalities in the United States.